Now the New Year is really underway, the District Council has been looking to the future and working on a joint 5 year plan for South Norfolk and Broadlands – 58 pages long. If you want more details please see on the Council’s web site but here is an exert from the preamble.

Our Focus for the next 4 years
At the heart of Our Plan, there is a common vision: we want to work together to create the best place for everyone, now and for future generations. We have worked to anticipate the challenges facing us as Councils and districts over the next four years, and truly recognise that we need to work differently and with others to deliver real change and the right outcomes for our districts.

Local government is changing – but, the work that we’re doing and our partnership approach is putting us in the best place to deal positively proactively to those changes. So, to ensure that we remain relevant and up to date, we will be responsive and agile, putting the customer at the heart of everything we do and continuously improving and evolving our services to fit with future demands of both residents and businesses. Working in partnership, we want to reimagine what local government delivers. We recognise that all have a responsibility to do all we can to ensure that what we leave behind is better than we found.

Our achievements over the last few years South Norfolk Council has:
Invested over £7m into three leisure centres in Wymondham, Diss and Long Stratton, to provide state of the art equipment, facilities and experience to help residents stay fit and healthy, increasing membership numbers by over 60% over 3 years.

Pioneered an innovative Early Help Hub which has helped over 8,000 families and residents since 2016. Invested £570,000 in the Better Broadband for Norfolk (BBFN) programme which has seen access to Superfast Broadband increase from 15% in 2013 to 90% today, becoming the first rural district in East Anglia to offer every home and business access to broadband download speeds of at least 10Mbps.

Provided planning permission for nearly 3,500 new homes and obtained over £16.5min government funding through the New Homes Bonus.

Supported the delivery of over 2,000 affordable homes (including through Help to Buy) in the District since 2016. Delivered over 100 new homes through South Norfolk Council owned development company Big Sky and secured £7.8m accelerated construction grant for Cringleford.

Worked with partners to bring wind-energy –  powered electric car charging points to every market town, giving residents the opportunity to consider using clean energy and buy an electric car. Generated approximately £35m in commercial income which has supported the reinvestment into services.

Broadland District Council has:
Worked with partners to complete construction of the Broadland Northway (Norwich NDR) with an investment of £205m, which will see faster, more reliable journey times for our residents, sites for new homes becoming more viable and, specifically, a welcome boost for our economy.

Worked with partners to transform broadband speeds across the county by installing high-speed fibre optic networks to deliver 95% coverage across Norfolk by the end of March 2020.

Supported the delivery of over 609 affordable homes (including through Help to Buy) in the District since 2016.

Secured almost £2.5m of funding to deliver community-led infrastructure projects.

Developed homes in Hellesdon through the Council’s Joint Venture Company, Broadland Growth Ltd, with NPS, which has made a return to the public purse of around £1.28m.

Distributed over £1m in Community Infrastructure Levy income to our parish and town councils for projects that support local communities such as play areas and security measures.

Continued to maintain recycling rates of over 50% which are higher than the national average of 42% and the highest in Norfolk.

Generated over £7m of commercial income which has supported the reinvestment into services.

Supported the development of the 25 hectare expansion of Broadland Business Park to promote business development, economic-growth and job opportunities in the district.

Been supporting the delivery of North West Woodlands Country Park which will benefit our residents and visitors.

Meantime the full Council has been in session and has discussed Global Warming, but so far have not declared a Climate Emergency, despite representations from Extinction Rebellion. Also on the agenda, budget review 2020/21, capital review 2020/2025.

The Cabinet has been reviewing cooperation with Broadlands, reintroduction of business rates discounts for pubs, qualifying shops and local newspaper discount.

Also check out the Greater Norwich Local Plan Consultation, as this is the time to make comments or objections to the plan.

It’s great to see the spring flowers on the Chicken Roundabout, a fitting tribute to Gordon Knowles, and I look forward to the wild flowers in the summer.

Brendon Bernard
District Councillor for Ditchingham,Broome, Hedenham and Thwaite.
T. 01986893420